Today we woke up anchored in Academy Bay and started our day with a delicious breakfast followed by a photography talk on board. We left the ship around 9AM to start our full “giant tortoise” day on Santa Cruz Island, home of the iconic reptiles that have become synonymous with the Galápagos.

Santa Cruz is home to two different species, Chelonoidis porteri and Chelonoidis donfausto. They are known for their incredible size, with some individuals weighing over 550 pounds, and for living for more than 150 years. While in the highlands, we enjoyed a delicious meal at a private ranch, where we could admire giant tortoises in the wild.

After a full day in Puerto Ayora, we returned to the ship to meet local artisans and the Charles Darwin Research Station director, before enjoying a delicious diner. What an amazing first full day onboard National Geographic Islander II!